2. The continuity of housing typology: the CLUSTER HOUSES
Combining public roof garden, retail gallery and pedestrian passage, the various spatial answers add up to an entity at the scale of the pedestrian inspired by existing urban morphologies of Beirut.
The levels are vertically connected by voids and skylights incorporated in the green strips and passageways, permitting light and views to cross.
The BASIS is a genuine interface between the different elements composing the project.
The CLUSTER HOUSES, sheltering 35.000 m² of residential area, are anchored in the BASIS hatched according to its banded pattern. Their volumetry and position is axed on three elements, light, views and scale. The higher part of the cluster shifts backwards to adapt to the scale of the BASIS and building restrictions.
From the CLUSTER HOUSES the BASIS is seen as a green carpet, an important quality in terms of view especially for the residences situated on the lower floors of the cluster houses.
The residential part is the most important program unit and without a doubt the most fundamental event of our reasoning. We wanted to realise a continuity of typology as to the traditional oriental patio house, with its rich relation between interior and exterior, and this in a vertical type of building.
We have applied this concept on two levels, the interior / scale of the apartment, and the exterior / building scale.
This housing type, structured around a central patio assuring a natural ventilation and distribution of the different living units, and so this indoor-outdoor succession has been the starting point for the CLUSTER HOUSES.
Each apartment (one, max. two per floor) is entered through an exterior space, the lobby in direct contact with the core’s noble access, dividing the floor in day and night program units. The day units, living and dining area are again separated by a patio.
A particular attention has been paid to these special indoor-outdoor sequences, permitting the apartment to morph from winter to summer by a double skin.
The interior glazing draws the inner perimeter of the apartment shaping patio and lobby. The glazed walls of these in-between spaces open unconventionally by revolving against the ceiling, this way opening the day zone completely to the exterior.
The exterior skin realised in Ductal, includes the structure permitting the interior to be free of any columns and therefore even more generous. This skin is at times completely open, at times perforated by different patterns, permitting light to cross and draw beautiful shadows.